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underage drinking

7/09/13 2:02pm

1,000 Kenyan Kids Arrested for Underage Drinking


The children were herded into a lorry.
Photo via

In Kenya's capital of Nairobi, 1,000 kids were arrested for underage drinking over the weekend in the midst of an ongoing teachers' strike. Nairobi police launched the raid on "reggae music discotheques" and police chief Patrick Oduma confirmed that bar operators were also arrested. He says 116 children have remained in custody, but the rest were released because there weren't enough prison cells to hold them. "They were busy dancing and some taking alcohol, smoking bhang [cannabis] and cigarettes, which is wrong,” says Oduma. “We intend to charge the operators of [bars] where these children were arrested and even apply for the cancellation of their licenses.” Many of the detained children, some of whom were still drunk and high, reportedly shouted and laughed as they were escorted to court by police. Some Kenyan officials are blaming the government for the arrests, since its failure to resolve the strikes has left the kids unattended. "It is the government which should be blamed for not being keen to resolve the teachers strike," says Musau Ndunda, Secretary General of the Kenya National Association of Parents. "Instead of playing politics, why not pay the teachers and they will go back to class and our children will definitely stream back to school." Addiction and underage drinking have been called a "national scourge" in Kenya, where one half of all alcohol and drug abusers are reportedly between the ages of 10-19. One factor exacerbating the crisis is widespread access to toxic, home-made "chang’aa" which translates to "kill me quick" and contains methanol.

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By McCarton Ackerman

alcohol ads

7/09/13 12:57pm

Video: Bruce Lee Resurrected to Sell Scotch Whisky


"Keep Walking" Photo via

Bruce Lee is rumored to have abstained from alcohol (he preferred water), but that hasn't deterred advertisers from resurrecting the late action star, CGI-style, in a Chinese ad for Johnnie Walker Blue Label. From a dramatically darkened apartment in Hong Kong, his digital likeness expounds on the power of water—one of his trademark philosophies. "Be water, my friend. Because someday you'll be more than a success. You'll be a game changer," says CGI Lee, who took over nine months to create. “Every shot of his head and every detail in there is completely cgi,” explains director Joseph Kahn. “We got Shannon Lee, Bruce Lee's daughter, to come aboard and we really picked her brain to make sure that everything was accurate from look to soul. We wanted to be as respectful to the man and legend as we could.” The ad ends with Lee urging viewers to "Keep walking"—an allusion to one of his famous adages "Walk on"—modified to promote the Scotch brand. Since the beloved martial artist's death in 1973, his likeness has been used to sell everything from Lipton iced tea to Nokia cell phones to Mars bars. Check out his latest posthumous work below:

Johnnie Walker "Game Changer" from Joseph Kahn on Vimeo.

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By Bryan Le

Drugged Driving

7/09/13 10:52am

UK Cracks Down on Drugged Driving


"Drugalyzers" will test drivers on-the-spot.
Photo via

Brits who abuse prescription drugs and drive could soon face steep fines and even jail time. Drivers will also face a "zero tolerance limit" on illegal substances including marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamines and ecstasy. As part of a crackdown on "drugged driving" starting next year, police will begin using new “drugalyser” devices, which can immediately measure even small traces of drugs in an individual’s system. Those driving under the influence of illegal drugs, or prescription drugs not as prescribed, will face a 12-month driving ban, six months in jail, and a fine of up to £5,000 (roughly $7,400). Anyone taking legally prescribed medications will not be penalized, unless they have taken more than the recommended dose or ignored doctors’ advice not to drive. “Drug-driving is a menace which devastates families and ruins lives. That is why we are proposing to take a zero-tolerance approach with those who drive under the influence,” says Road safety minister Stephen Hammond. “We know that the vast majority of people who use prescription drugs are doing so responsibly. That is why our approach does not unduly penalize drivers who have taken properly prescribed medicines.” Experts predict that cracking down on drugged drivers will save at least 200 lives a year.

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By Chrisanne Grise


7/09/13 5:00am

Morning Roundup: June 9, 2013


Dr Finkelstein first suspected Jackson's
painkiller dependence in '93. Photo via

By Victoria Kim

opiate epidemic

7/08/13 5:05pm

Photographer Captures Addicted Mothers and Babies


Tara Lee Bailey and her daughter, who was
born addicted to opiates Photo via

The rise in babies hooked on opioids at birth is one of the more harrowing example of America's prescription painkiller epidemic. Every hour, an opiate-dependent baby is born in the United States, or about 13,500 infants in 2009—a five-fold increase from 2000. Though dependent mothers in some states still face prosecution or even jail time, a growing number of free clinics now work to get dependent mothers and their newborns the treatment they need. Funded by a combination of medicaid, health insurance and grants, there are at least nine such clinics in states including Washington and Pennsylvania. Andrew Spear, a photographer for the Wall Street Journal, visited one of them—the Maternal Addiction and Recovery Center at the Marshall University's medical school in Huntington, West Virginia—and took portraits of mothers who have sought treatment for their addictions and since given birth. Below is a portrait of Tara Lee Bailey, who sought help after quitting opiates on her own proved too hard, pictured with her daughter Willow Grace Chapman, who was born dependent. Check out the full gallery here.

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By Bryan Le

drink dial

7/08/13 4:13pm

UK Launches Controversial 24-Hour "Dial-a-Drink" Service


Quenching your after-pub thirst. Photo via

Starting this week, people in parts of North West England can now have their nightcaps delivered straight to their doorsteps. A new 24-hour "dial-a-drink" delivery service has been granted a trading license, despite pushback from district council and public health officials. "Booze Bury" was initially rejected—twice—due to public health concerns, and told that their chances of approval were "slim to none." But Bury Council finally gave them the green light, on the grounds that 24-hour supermarkets are permitted to sell alcohol at all times. Dr. Peter Elton, Director of Public Health at NHS Bury, calls the new business "dangerous" and says it will drive up booze consumption and related health issues. "There is no doubt that increasing access in this way will increase problem drinking and lead to more hospital admissions and eventually to more people dying from alcohol-related disease," he says. "Public health is not against the enjoyment of alcohol in moderation, but making it easier for people to drink to excess both damages themselves and increases the risk of violence in others."

But Booze Bury maintains that they are committed to promoting "responsible" drinking. "We have agreed to a wide range of conditions that promote responsible drinking and driver safety," says a spokesman. "Our website contains a video about responsible drinking and the full list of conditions which customers must stick to in order for us to deliver. We will work with the council and other authorities to ensure this is a worthwhile venture for us and safe for everybody." Drinking contributed to an estimated 1,220,300 hospitalizations in England last year—double the number in 2002-03. And in 2011, World Health Organization categorized the country as one of the booziest in the world.

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By McCarton Ackerman


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